Immigration, Drones and the Administration

Posted on January 29, 2013 in Countdown
Yesterday, a group of senators released a bipartisan framework for immigration reform. Finally, a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants? Well, sort of. The plan forces undocumented immigrants to clear so many hurdles to gain permanent residency that the process is likely to take up to a decade. According to the proposal, enforcement measures must be complete “before any immigrant on probationary status can earn a green card.”
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Wow, What a Weekend!

Posted on January 23, 2013 in Countdown
We didn’t think it was possible for anyone to be more excited about the inaugural festivities this weekend than us. We hosted an Arab American inaugural celebration in our office, with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Congressman Keith Ellison, and Arab American comedians Dean Obeidallah and Go Remy. But after seeing Joe Biden at the inaugural parade yesterday, we will definitely cede first place for the “most excited award” (not actually an award) to our most gregarious Vice President. Vice President Biden almost gave his secret service agent a heart attack when he started to literally run laps around the parade (it starts about a minute into the clip), jogging over to onlookers to shake hands. Oh, and in other news, President Obama was sworn in over the weekend and gave an inaugural address in which he laid out a progressive vision for America going forward. A couple of things the president said stood out for us, and we posted them on our Facebook page, so tell us what you think.
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Shuffling the Deck

Posted on January 15, 2013 in Countdown
If you’re tired of the manufactured controversy over chuck Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense, we’re with you. So help us reframe the conversation about something that actually matters. Beyond his supposedly “dovish” (better a dove than a chickenhawk, no?) views on Iran and his criticism of Israel, there is a real conversation to be had about what a Hagel appointment means for shifting U.S. policy going forward. In his latest column, AAI president Jim Zogby defends Hagel as a “thoughtful and sober advocate of the realist approach to foreign policy.” Jim also stated that Hagel represents a threat and potential end to “the entire neo-conservative enterprise that led the U.S. into two failed wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Well, we’re ok with that. Because with respect to the Middle East, the last thing we need is another Defense Secretary delivering speeches about “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns” as we brace ourselves for another unnecessary military campaign. A Hagel appointment might just be exactly what the President needs to usher in a new era of more positive U.S. foreign policy and national security policy.
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Nominations, Personalities and Unfavorable Realities

Posted on January 08, 2013 in Countdown
Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed your holiday season in good company with friends and family. Countdown is back in 2013, and we’re not wasting any time. Let’s get to it.
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The Final Countdown of the Year

Posted on December 18, 2012 in Countdown
Because next week is Christmas break, and the following is New Year's, the Countdown team will be too busy enjoying the holidays to write to you. But don't worry, it's not like it'll be an eventful period or anything; we're just leaving you in the midst of a power-grab by the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, an announcement of new settlements in East Jerusalem, an explicit acknowledgement by the Assad government that it can't militarily defeat the opposition in Syria, a weak attempt to end indefinite detention in the NDAA 2013 update... Ok, maybe there is much to talk about. But let's continue this conversation in 2013 anyway.
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Well, Someone Should Do Something

Posted on December 11, 2012 in Countdown
Well, if you thought he’d still be curled up in the fetal position after the shellacking he took, you’d be wrong. He’s actually quite active, going out and about, meeting with John Boehner and Eric Cantor and stuff. By the way, do you know what he discussed with Boehner and Cantor? Apparently, he discussed “possible changes to [sic] Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the anti-bribery law under which Las Vegas Sands [his company] is being investigated.” If you’re wondering why this isn’t a bigger story, welcome to the Countdown club. Oh wait, you already are in the Countdown club.
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Believe Your Eyes: Countdown is Back

Posted on December 04, 2012 in Countdown
Believe your eyes, Countdown is back! With the mid-term elections only 700 days away... Ok, this really isn’t about how close the mid-term elections are; we’re back by popular demand. You and Countdown haven’t seen each other in a few weeks, and we can’t bear to keep you apart another minute longer, so let’s get right to it:
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The Final Countdown

Posted on October 30, 2012 in Countdown
Well, folks, it’s been quite a ride, and we actually are saying goodbye (we were just trying to put it off for a few more seconds). But worry not, you’re in for one magnificent substitute weekly publication from AAI. And if that doesn’t quench your Countdown thirst, don’t panic, we’ll be back before you know it. Presidential elections are our bat signal in the sky, and given that these campaigns now start literally years before the actual election, you can sleep tonight knowing that we’re practically just around the corner. Until then, stay politically active and keep the Arab American community strong.
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Two Weeks Out

Posted on October 23, 2012 in Countdown
Spontaneous collective laughter broke out in the Palestinian territories when they heard that apartheid and fake endless negotiations were mentioned in the context of standing up for Israel against its enemies, in what Israeli security officials initially thought was an explosion in a laughing-gas factory. After a few minutes, the laughing died down when the Palestinians realized, on second thought, how unfunny that really is, especially after the release of this disheartening poll on Israeli public opinion, which ran in one of Israel’s leading newspapers under the headline “Survey: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel.”
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Into the 10th Inning

Posted on October 16, 2012 in Countdown
Whether you loved it or hated it, thought it was necessary or unjustifiably rude, the story of the debate was definitely how Vice-President Biden aggressively handled Congressman Paul Ryan, with “that’s a bunch of malarkey” and “oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy!” zingers. But the real winner of the vice-presidential debate wasn’t Biden, or Ryan, or the entertained audience, but debate moderator Martha Raddatz who was gaining 1,000 Twitter followers per minute during a good part of the debate for a superb performance; demanding specifics and calling out nonsense from the VP candidates.
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